ALP candidate for Hinkler, Belinda McNeven.
ALP candidate for Hinkler, Belinda McNeven.

Local candidates exchange barbs

ALP candidate for Hinkler, Belinda McNeven, has refused to be drawn into an “I'll match that” fight with the current sitting member Paul Neville.

Neville this week opened his box of promises and marched around the Fraser Coast offering such things as $10 million for a roads funding program, $3 million for a performing arts centre at Urangan State High School and $700,000 to help market local tourism.

He then challenged McNeven to go on the record and match the funding.

The ALP candidate sidestepped the issue by firstly highlighting the fact that $78 million of federal funds had flowed to the Fraser Coast over the past few years as part of the economic stimulus package.

“Voters in Hinkler should be aware that Paul Neville raised his hand to vote against that investment in this local area,” she said.

“Now he is trying to choose a few select high profile projects to try and show that he really does care about this area.

“Residents are being asked to forget about his neglect of them and they shouldn't be fooled.

“The health system in the Fraser Coast was in tatters when the Labor government moved into office and it was Neville's government that allowed the health services to crumble.

“He failed badly and it shouldn't be forgotten that during a time when this district needed him the most he sat in a political post in New York for three months.

“At least now I can say tangible things are happening in this area and the recent $9.2 million commitment for a Cancer Care Clinic at Hervey Bay Hospital is the proof that more is coming.

“We will build a dedicated medical training facility for Doctor, Nurse and Allied Health training, that's fact not fiction,” McNeven said.

The Labor candidate said Neville's Urangan High School performing arts centre commitment was purely a political stunt.

“Where was his real support for this project over the past few years,” she said.

“I am not against the centre getting built, but firstly we must look at providing what is best for all schools in the region.

“One school cannot benefit at every other school's expense,” she said.

“We have committed to Trades Training monies being available to all Fraser Coast schools.

“Our plan means that all schools can have access to the facilities they need. Urangan High, Hervey Bay High, Glendyne, Hervey Bay Special School, Xavier Catholic School and Fraser Coast Anglican College can all access money for facilities if Labor is elected. They are already well advanced in this planning as a whole group.”

MsMcNeven said unlike the coalition, Labor's commitments were in the budget and fully costed.

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